How much freedom is enough?

Does freedom mean different things to different people. I would say yes. And which is why, blog freedom is still not worth a dekko for most people at this point.
But if we look before we leap to this conclusion, it will be indeed foolish.
There are at least two resulting conclusions:
One, freedom is necessary
Two, It is not.

I think both ends of the freedom spectrum have some values. How much freedom is “necessary”? I would say, minimum freedom is necessary. Just like the minimum sources of sustenance.
Lets start from the minimum: With basic freedom of speech and expression and of all things necessary, the world can live a happy life. There are oppressed people and suppressed voices world over who need to be heard. Folks burdened with the task of teaching the untamed quite a few lessons need to find a stage and platform. For, the unheard are not voiceless. The unheard are just plenty of noises yet to find a channel. The united voices will emerge sooner or later.

And when the majority will speak, the voice will no more be suffocated under any obligations, will not be marred by moral prospects, will not stay quite for sake of civility. The outcry for freedom from colonialists and imperialists have found its ways of expressions in the past and it will in the future. Difficult is the process, for the majority indeed are the marginalized in the world today.

But the time is not far ahead. I am sure its going to take place during my lifetime. During this lifetime. Institutional norms will be challenged. Classics will be revisited. Values long kept holy will be tarnished with specks of multiple truths only to reject them. Traditional discriminations will meet with radical equalities.

Individuals will have found a society where the freedom will be experienced vis-à-vis the way we all would be connecting, not constantly squabbling over disconnects.

Now, that’s minimum freedom. Enough to generate a life and sufficient to live it with dignity. Unfortunately most are deprived of it since long.
Freedom rally
Now the analogy I intend to draw is with the material acquisitions. To what extent can one possess things to be called one’s own. When even one’s life betrays, can the material goods or private property provide the lasting comforts to last as much as one would wish one had. Aren’t accidents caused in luxurious cars and business class flights? In other words, there is never enough of material comforts to grant one a content life. What is needed indeed is, a basic minimum standard of living. For All. So that we don’t fight over each other’s “acquisitions”. That’s community building with a social concern. How to do that is another question, we will attempt at answering in next few writings. But what it is, is this: We need just the basic means. Everything else is superfluous.

Stretch the material acquisitions for a moment to imply that the more one has, the more happy one is, if not content. True. But what gathers momentum is the fact that the gap existing between the haves of the “comforts” and the have-nots of the “comforts” get indeed widened beyond repair unless some drastic and often radical measures are taken to bring economy to homeostasis.

Include freedom: How much freedom is enough was discussed. But what was left out, apart from the mechanism of freedom (like the political economy), the apprehension if the amount of freedom has any normative value.

Here it is: when freedom is unbridled in an unequal society, the class of people who owns the most will also end up owning the most freedom. In other words, the grand narrative will again be repeated by the owners of the freedom in the dominant tongue.

Freedom is a thing one is born with, not something to be granted. Perhaps so. But the fact remains, that freedom is often enough trampled and en masse bought by the ruling class who subsequently grants some of it to us in installments. As long as we do not notice this, we will be turning our back at the most fundamental need.

What do we need to do?

We need to ensure basic freedom to all. This will mean the same “drastic and often radical measures” to take away some extra freedom from some and distribute among all. I am not sure yet if freedom needs to be taken care of before “owned” properties or vice versa, but the only plausible solution at the moment points towards this.

In my opinion, there are excesses of Freedom as there are excesses of Private properties. The prerogative lies with the privileged to not acknowledge this. And with the vast majority of the world’s populace without access either to properties or freedom, unmatched both by degree and type, its time to acknowledge this.

Some of us shall have to sacrifice parts of us we called our own, this part which we thought we could use in any manner possible. At least this was true in case of those who have the power to exercise this excess of freedom. In order to exonerate the power, we have to redefine what constitutes freedom and how much exactly we need.

For if not done, those who own freedom granting authorities will keep on wielding more of the freedom to restrict some of it when it comes to us, and justify the entire gamut of unfair play in the name of “We the people”.


Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

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